Jan 252008

I have not been paying a lot of attention to the reports of purported mischief performed by and on behalf of the Clintons, Bill and Hillary. I’ve chalked most of them up to media sensationalism and right wing rancor. It becomes more difficult to ignore, however, when it is posted directly on Senator Clinton’s campaign website:

“I hear all the time from people in Florida and Michigan that they want their voices heard in selecting the Democratic nominee.

“I believe our nominee will need the enthusiastic support of Democrats in these states to win the general election, and so I will ask my Democratic convention delegates to support seating the delegations from Florida and Michigan. I know not all of my delegates will do so and I fully respect that decision. But I hope to be President of all 50 states and U.S. territories, and that we have all 50 states represented and counted at the Democratic convention.

“I hope my fellow potential nominees will join me in this.

“I will of course be following the no-campaigning pledge that I signed, and expect others will as well.”

Had the people in Florida and Michigan wanted their voices heard in the Democratic party’s nominating process, they would have insisted that their respective state parties follow the rules laid down by the national party. They did not, and by not doing so they forfeited their right to be heard. Hillary Clinton knows this.

All of the candidates, with the exception of Mrs. Clinton, requested that their names be removed from the ballot in Michigan. Since her name was the only name on the ballot, Mrs. Clinton won the Michigan primary. None of the Democratic candidates are campaigning in Florida. Mrs. Clinton appears likely to win the primary in that state on the basis of name recognition alone.

Of course she wants the delegates from those two states reinstated. They are her delegates. In a nominating contest as tight as this one will likely be, every delegate is going to count. Hillary Clinton jumped the shark today. It’s almost as if she declared that the rules that apply to the other candidates do not apply to her. She alienated a lot of people, including, I dare say, yours truly.

If she becomes the Democratic nominee, she will have my full support. Any Democrat in the White House is infinitely better than a Republican. Today, though, she lost a lot of the respect I had for her.

The Illustrated President

 Posted by at 15:01  Politics
Jan 252008

This has to be embarrassing (though I often wonder if George W. Bush and his minions are even capable of embarrassment).

W.H.D. Koerner, 'A Charge to Keep' (1916)
W.H.D. Koerner, 'A Charge to Keep' (1916)

So Bush’s inspiring, prosyletizing Methodist is in fact a silver-tongued horse thief fleeing from a lynch mob. It seems a fitting marker for the Bush presidency. Bush has consistently exhibited what psychologists call the “Tolstoy syndrome.” That is, he is completely convinced he knows what things are, so he shuts down all avenues of inquiry about them and disregards the information that is offered to him. This is the hallmark of a tragically bad executive. But in this case, it couldn’t be more precious. The president of the United States has identified closely with a man he sees as a mythic, heroic figure. But in fact he’s a wily criminal one step out in front of justice. It perfectly reflects Bush the man. . . and Bush the president.

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